Aww, what a great thread.
When I was little, dad had never really been around babies before, so my mom has always recounted his attempts at learning how to “play.” His game was called “Dancing on Your Head” and involved placing any object (preferrably a soft toy) on my head and singing offkey “Dancinnnnnn on your head, Dancin, oh dancin, DANCIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN on your heaaaaaaaaaaaaad!” over…and over…and over again. Apparently this little game is what elicited my first smile and eventually my first laugh and eventually baby hysterics over it. When I became a toddler, he would use his fingers to “dance on my head” and even on my wedding day he helped place my veil in my hair and gave it a few quick pats and commented he wouldn’t want it to dance on my head.
Every year at Easter, Dad starts the phone calls about a week or so ahead of time and makes sure everyone will be present for Easter egg dying. He gets wildly competitive about decorating “the best” egg (my mom is the judge) and will sit there for hours with crayons or stickers or holding an egg in dye just to be sure to get the most brilliant color. He hides the eggs for all of us every year and insists on Easter baskets and/or presents. My neice still hasn’t figured out that Grandpa is the one hiding the eggs, so she is always fascinated by how well Dad can point her in the right direction when she can’t find any and her greedy aunts and uncles are running (for some reason we all scream when we do this) around the house, finding one after another.
Dad loves to go out to breakfast and “chat.” When we were little, he would alternate who got to go with him on Saturdays, as he often met a client and would let one of us go with him. We met so many interesting people by doing this. If we were somewhat quiet and polite during breakfast, he would go to the park afterwards and push us on the swings for as long as we wanted. If he didn’t have to meet a client, then all of us would go. As teenagers, he used going out to breakfast as a way to talk to us about what was going on in our lives and stay up to date about school, relationships, teachers, etc.
I remember getting my heart broken around the age of sixteen, just before I was about to leave for college and I felt like my whole world (as I knew it) was ending. I knew I was going to miss my family like crazy, all my friends who weren’t going to college yet, and now this boyfriend who had decided he didn’t want to do the long distance thing. I came home very late, way past curfew, having had arranged with my sister to turn the light off for me (it was a code we had with my parents to let them know we were home, only I knew I wasn’t going to be home til late) and crept into the house. I was barely breathing because I knew little sobs would escape if I even inflated my lungs. My parents’ kitchen is massive, it’s the biggest and the best room in the house, and has always been a very comforting spot. I decided to get a glass of water and the moment my bare foot hit the hardwood, a little lamp in the sitting area clicked on, and there was Dad. He didn’t look mad, just concerned and then I saw his face register my swollen eyes and bedraggled appearance. He folded his paper, walked the length of the kitchen and said, “Come here, you’re still my baby even if you’re an adult to everyone else” and let me cry all over him for about fifteen minutes. He sent me off to bed and never mentioned my missing curfew or tears again. When my mother asked me about that boy, he waved her question away for me and just said, “Oh, I think she’s done with him.” and that was that, and I didn’t have to explain.